Pacifica pier: Fisherfolk, buoys,
Two lines per person.
Shadows along the sand, rock: serpentine, chert –
Long-billed curlews, ravens, gulls pick in the surf –
Sand fleas pick at my jacket,
Strong wind lifts the brim of my hat.
The surf, violent spill of foam
Renders the sand pearl.
Out on the pier, for a moment the foam blinds, all there is,
As if you are moving, on a boat, along the water.
Brown current, spiderweb of foam,
Devil’s Slide all the way to the south.
A gull I could reach out and touch,
Buffeted still by the wind, fetch miles long over open water.
Mt. Tam all the way to the north,
A shade in the distance.
Waves’ energy, not the water itself,
Moves to shore, all this eventually
Reduced to a tideless leak.
Or sneaker waves carry you out to sea.
Pelicans, flying close over water,
Sense thrumming life in the ocean’s deep heart beneath the waves.
Pier throbs with thunderous swell,
As if we’re all alive in the sea.
Out to sea, all fog fades to mist in the distance,
Kelp unmoored from the seafloor below.
To turn your back on the sea (which you should never do)
Is to dream the green, flowered hills beyond.
Then there are the waves receding away from you –
There, to the far shore, more behind you than ahead.
Where the water breaks, the tideline
A sea of snow, stretching all the way down the shore.
Disturbing forces – tides, wind – lift the waves,
Restoring forces – gravity – pull them, falling, back to earth.
Swells rise and seem to lift the pier,
Thunk! waves hit pier pilings.
Pelicans fall, dwarfed in the wake,
Murre, tern, auklet, orphaned in the waves.